Great podcast. I listened to the audiobook version of Hyperion and its sequel a while back, and (as you all mentioned), my abiding memory is how bleak, dour and heavy-going these books are.
I still found them good to listen to, and the world-building was indeed great (I too recall the house and shopping mall built on multiple planets). But after completing these two books, I couldn’t bring myself to listen to the other two.
My recommendation for a future show: Cyteen, by C J Cherryh. A lot of people loved it; sadly, I was not one of them; so I’d be interested in your opinions. Here’s what I wrote about it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R3OECV5U9MDVGM/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm